Computer bots of Kremlin – a brand new army

Computer bots of Kremlin – a brand new army

*Bot – Short for robot, a computer program that runs automatically, sometimes imitating human function.

interview by Danil Turovskij  (Translated by Karolis Judelevičius)

According to recent events, the real war is happening in cyberspace by exploiting information rather than on the ground. An executive of a company, employee of the government who wished to remain anonymous, disclosed the following information about bribing of bloggers, ordering DDoS attacks and shaping opinions of the general public.

How did You get into Cyber-warfare?

At the end of 2011, when the protests have started, we suggested trying to get into it. We started with “mucky pups” – bloggers and rare funded orders for journalists to process and render certain news to the public.


Tipinis botų veiklos Tviteryje pavyzdys: pagal tam tikrsas žymas (tegus) botai prirašo tiek pranešimų, kad būtų neįmanoma rasti informacijos.

A typical example of bot activity on Twitter: any significant information is lost between entries created by bots following certain tags.


Usually we would get a bunch of “mucky pups” and at 9 am in the morning they would receive  a brief data with the tasks for the day. Tasks would consist of what to look out for, how to manipulate information, what to emphasize during the course of the day. Their job was constant translation and focus of certain messages.
We used a simple technique finding these bloggers. We would go to “Jan-jak”, the popular chain of french coffee shops in Russia, and we would look for the ones short of cash or the ones with unclear views about opposition.

We would choose one and offer fifteen thousand to write about for example a corrupt member of Bibirevo municipality.
They thought they were doing the right thing and also making money in the process. After the second or the third time we would ask them to write something about Aleksei Navalny. If they didn’t comply you could threaten to let everyone know they took money from us

Obviously we always guaranteed complete anonymity. But after the scandal of hacking into Potupchik’s mailbox, who also had “cyber” employees, everyone got really spooked. (in 2012 after the hacking of “Nashi” Youth movement’s spokesman Potupchik’s mailbox, the correspondence with funded bloggers became public – D.T.).

We were very cautious, some people even created secret email addresses, they imagined they were special agents, they completely fell for it. When we would meet to exchange cash, they would carefully explore the surroundings, checking if they weren’t followed, like during some drug deal.

Who supplied the messages for “mucky pups” to spread?

It would come from above, from the administration of Putin. We are, what you can call, a branch of informational support, consultants for public relations, a department of propaganda. It was already happening when i joined. The 85 rubles for an online comment was already in the past. To be honest i always considered it to be pointless so Youth movements took care of that.

There were loads of cash to be shared around. So they kept inserting pointless comments on “LiveJournal” (most popular blog site in Russia). Tags and hash-tags were being used even before the jubilee of Vladimir Putin in October of 2012.  Actual people worked the internet then, only later replaced by bots. Nowadays, when a message from opposition rises to the top, we just drown it with junk.

After the lowest ranking writer enters a message on Twitter, it is then passed on to a trained employee, who then places that same tagged message into a program, for further distribution. Around 85% percent of Twitter messages originate this way. The rest 15% are done by relatively known people to gain reputation. This is the bottom level of cyber-warfare.

How did you create tasks for “mucky pups”?

I’m very surprised when people take posts by “mucky pups” seriously and even start discussing it because they are so easy to spot.

There is always a particular structure in all ordered texts. Because of lack of trust for bloggers and journalists we would issue five essential points for text making. For example: you will most definitely find “historic heritage” and “banderivets”, etc. mentioned in a text regarding Ukraine.

Also there is loads of information on Aleksei Navalny, but suddenly everyone remembered that he is a nationalist, right? So the system of “mucky pups” was deemed ineffective. A new presidential administration also had a lot to do with the change of things.

Before the new administration our budget was unlimited with main targets to buy as many journalists and bloggers as possible with wages of up to 90000 rubles per month. Only so called top level bloggers received higher payments.

Are they like Ilya Varlamov?

Someone like him, yes. The hacking of Potupchik’s mailbox revealed payments of up to 300000 rubles had existed. Even though he was in the “circle” i doubt he was paid that much.

So the numbers of “mucky pups” are in decline?

Yes, mainly because of budget cuts and change in politics. In the beginning of 2013 we submitted reports suggesting to start creating counter-information. Everyone was in favor of this idea. Actually that was the start of “”, but budget cuts terminated its activity. It was dirty but very effective operation.

2013 brought a wave of tabloid closures. A liberal approach was gone. The new way of thinking involved removing the threat altogether rather than toying with it.

Are there any threats left?

I don’t think so. “Vedomosti” is being intimidated by putting pressure on it. Currently it is not a good time to be a journalist in Russia. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has finally clued up to the fact that you can set up instrumental media in Moscow as easily as a European resort in Sochi.

All the recent news are a part of the politics to create a nice and acceptable media. “Russia Today” is one of the examples. Soon it will be actively used to portray elections to Moscow City Duma in the required manner.

What did you do next?

In the end of summer of 2012 I have decided to do something new and started writing  various types of texts for pro-Kremlin publications like “” and “Vzgliad”. After one publication in “Zavtra” I was offered a job in a company of blog production with even its own mini TV channel. Thats when got into some serious propaganda creating our own plots and stories. I invited people to write favorably about Putin’s politics – Aleksandr Dugin and Sergey Kurginyan to mention a few.

That was when I became completely immersed in a clandestine world of cyber-warfare. I became a manager, planning and organizing rather than a just a publisher.

Do You still work there?

Sort of yes. Its a horizontal type of structure, with many branches. There are 8 cyber-warfare departments just in Moscow. The whole propaganda scheme is handled by a General Manager and three Assistant Managers. Every department according to their assignment works with one of the assistant managers.

I’m not jealous of the department looking after the patriotic Prokhanov’s Izborsk Club (neo fascist political group, founded in 2012 – D.T.). All they ever talk about is Stalin, vodka, empire, etc. There are quite a few businessmen around them too, letting them use their private planes to go to assemblies for example.  But the old farts haven’t got a clue about internet.

I had a chat with Aleksandr Prokhanov once, and can you imagine – he asked me to make a picture move! I did not know what was he talking about. And he said that there was a moving picture on Misha Leontiev’s website and he wanted to have one on his website too.

Can you give an example of you “working” the news?

Let’s say the last court session of Aleksei Navalny (7th of March, 2014 – D.T.) We received instructions to shed a negative light on the planned rally in front of the courthouse and to positively portray  the arrest of Aleksei Navalny.
We would monitor the participants in the rally, the news and pictures from it.
We would find the negative angles and would start flooding our friendly media channels with stuff like: “Look, sodomites are parading” or “Nadezhda Tolokonnikova carrying a chicken”, and enough of these creating a required informational noise.

How many of these friendly media channels exist?

Probably around ten, another twenty or thirty with a little encouragement. With the unlimited budget we had everyone in our pocket.
There is a new generation of journalists calling themselves “independent”, who were at some point all funded by Kremlin. I could easily name all of them.

So You mainly looked for final year students at Faculty of Journalism?

I spent most of my spare time over there, namely “Eat & Talk”. (cafe near Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University – D.T.) I have even found someone from “Rolling Stone” magazine there. People are greedy and Moscow is a very expensive city. I have even paid journalists to write something neutral.

For example, for a “Seliger” description everyone was being bought, we even managed to shove our publications to the media of the opposition. Their excuse was that it was like gang wars to them – taking money from one enemy to harm another.
They received sums of up to 120000 rubles. I personally gave 70000 to a journalist from the “Kommersant”.

The group of paid journalists is dispersed now, they are not prepared to publish to order. Everyone knows about it now, so they write for opposition.
Of course it is very amusing when they refer to sources from AP (Putin’s administration), because 99% of these sources are us.

Once a relatively well known writer from “Krasnyj Oktyabr” (Red October) told me about a confidential piece of information I had created myself. An older man tells me about information from his supposed secret sources and it was all made-up by me.

Didn’t he know what was your job?

My job is not obvious, although people can sense that.

Do You have an office?

I don’t have a schedule or a meeting planner, but i have to sign for our budget. Among other things used to rent an office. I don’t know where the money comes from, we just sign a slip and get it in cash.

We are often blamed that we do nothing at all, that we just get paid for our loyalty. They call us “Putin’s parasites”. But after you spend three nights in a row at the office you start to wonder, you know?

We have eight team members of whom two are from the monitoring service. We don’t have positions or hierarchy, we are all ideologists and share everything equally. While other department is managed with military order by a well known person who doesn’t actually do anything, except maybe his role of middleman between his subordinates and the money.

Do you still write?

Very rarely. We usually have a morning meeting to discuss our plans for the day, decide who’s covering what, who has people where. There is a list of safe journalists, the ones you can meet or have a drink with.

Of course there is a blacklist for journalists too with Ilya Barabanov topping the list. We don’t work with them, as they would definitely rat it out.

Who else is on the list?

Oleg Kashin is not on it. I won’t mention any names, it would not be correct.

Is “Sputnik and pogrom” on the “good media” list?

I don’t know. Can’t talk about it.. It’s going too well for them. I did use their texts about Crimean few times. They were so well written I even thought of hiring them. Of course they were to expensive, even for me.

We can take texts by Egor Prosvirnin, taking couple paragraphs out about Putin being bad, and will have an excellent material.

You mentioned eight departments in total, do you have general meetings?

Of course we communicate and have general meetings, also once in a while we are gathered for editorial boards by “people from above”.

Are your people responsible for DDos attacks?

They are usually hired ex-members of youth movements, who during the internet investment boom managed to open their own tech-studios. They gather followers and distribute videos via YouTube.
Actually, in 2012 their services of post sharing where bought by Aleksei Navalny. Obviously he was cheated then – his people made a deal with us and paid for “shares” and “likes” and it never really happened.

And anyway it is very easy to make 700 clean re-tweets. The boys have created fishing apps, stuff like “find out how old you really are”, “i read an article..”, “be the first to see..”, etc. for finding careless users so their profiles can be later used for retweet or repost. And not everyone checks their history of posting or tweeting.

How many actual followers Tina Kandelaki or Vladimir Solovyov?

Once someone starts expressing favourable views towards Putin, they are “boosted-up”. That’s their bonus for  the “correct” views. Burmatov and other similar pro-Putin bloggers have only about 20% of actual followers.

I did tell Solovyov that not all of his followers are real, but he is adamant they are. Of course he is the most popular between bloggers, has at least thirty thousand followers, surely. Mainly because – if you follow Dmitry Medvedev, you get an automatic suggestion to follow Solovyov as well.

So Medvedev was “boosted” as well?

Yes, there was an interesting story regarding that. Even though it was clear from the start that Medvedev will be very popular, a person responsible turned out more than a million followers. In the process he has done the same for himself as well, so for a while we called him “the king of twitter”.

Using his own team and similar schemes Navalny also paid for every post, although they were less obvious and more carefully executed. During the election for the mayor Navalny paid for his interview for and his avatar in MDK (popular video game) cost him 800 000 rubles.

Lets get back to the DDoS attacks. So it is entirely possible for you to receive an order to attack “Echo of Moscow” for example?

Sure. Although not “Echo of Moscow”. We have orders to not touch it. Usually it is the LiveJournal. According to the management blogs are the greatest threat.

Do you already have a solution for mirror-blogs of Navalny?

He is yesterdays news. The threat of Navalny has nearly disappeared now. Blogs are not tied down to a particular person, hundreds of them can express the same views and its impossible to shut them down. So the whole platform has to be attacked, exactly like when Navalny was arrested.

It is very exciting to watch Twitter when something important is happening. The five main pro-putin bloggers start fighting who is going to get the most re-tweets.

Blog work is well paid and departments boost their own bloggers as much as possible to make the end of the month report look better.

How much of a cyber-warfare soldier you are?

In the beginning with ten of my “mucky pups” I have felt highly valuable. But in reality propaganda has to be released in huge loads. Single post is not noticeable, it has to be constant, it has to be everywhere and all the time and in large quantities. Only then it will have substantial effect on people.

One of the biggest oppositionists I’ve ever known from Faculty of journalism, recently started talking to me about Western aggression. Another one – true supporter of Navalny in the past, opened a discussion about how bad is that Navalny is a nationalist.

I can really see how propaganda affects people, how you can “put” ideas in their heads. We let them think they are conscious and thinking. We copied this tactics from a real professional Maxim Kononenko, who always offers to think. He would say: “It is all very well my friends, but lets try and think together”. He makes them feel like they are equal.

Opposition has genuine opportunities to win over the system, but it has to be instant. Mainly because every move of the government has to be approved by at least five signatures and three meetings.

I sometimes think that government offices are like clubs for people who like conferences. If there is an event requiring a fast response, they would agree that there is a need for action, but still decide to have a meeting about it. And if i say, ok, so i’m coming over now, the answer would be: “Well, maybe tomorrow is a better time, our superiors are gone for the day”. And so that job becomes meaningless.

I assess the value of my work whether it reached Putin or not and if has – it’s a successful one.
There is this guy, Vova Tabak, he used to create calendars for Faculty of Journalism. Some say that video “Putin can, Putin can” he has created made Putin cry and he was straight away given few million dollars. Also he enjoyed our “Polite people”

Are You not that busy anymore?

I’ve spent a month and a half in Kyiv doing a real good job. We have taken very good photos, thanks to the fighters of the “Right Sector” for swastikas too. Usually we have to bring strange individuals with silly posters and slogans, but here it was all sorted for us. Just the monument of Lenin fell down, only I can’t say who helped it.

No-one knows what is going to happen next. It looks like work is going to continue to decrease. Few are leaving for Public Relations, few for Public Chambers, one for mass media. We are not content to get paid for doing nothing, we do enjoy our work.

Until the middle of 2013 we were on the losing side in cyber-warfare, but we learned the more effective ways to work. We had to because professionals would not work for us out of shame. And then in 2013 we won the informational war against opposition , the only glitch being the mayoral election.

We don’t need to talk about luck in 2014. If Putin is going to continue the way he is at the moment, we all going to be out of job altogether.



The OSCE and the “absurdity” of referendums in eastern Ukraine

By Dmitry Tymchuk, Coordinator, Information Resistance
05.10.2014 Facebook
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly called for the cancellation of “absurd” referendums in eastern Ukraine.

It’s not entirely clear why the OSCE is urging to abolish what they themselves called absurd. Ukraine itself has noted and explained why this action is clownery that has nothing to do with the referendum. The civilized world has supported it [Ukraine’s position]. What other questions can be asked about the sick fantasies of pro-Russian terrorists?

This bunch of alcoholics and simply inadequate personalities controlled from Moscow, could even declare themselves a Universal empire, and require our galaxy to pay tribute to them. But would this nonsense even be worth commenting on? It is comparable to asking mentally ill people to abandon their hallucinations. They need to be treated and isolated from society because they pose a threat to others, and they cannot be reasoned with.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk, FB

Referendum for Donetsk and Luhansk republics will be held in Moscow

donbaso_respublikaAs announced by the Moscow-based “Fund of Slavic Literature and Culture” and some other outlets in Russian media, Moscow residents will be able to vote for the secession of the so called republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

There is no information regarding, whether it is only the citizens of Ukraine will be allowed to vote. There is no information either regarding the observers, nor regarding the political and judicial status of such referendum. It is said that “residents of Donbas”, who are in Russia, will have the right to vote.

The announcement stresses that during voting, which begins at noon, a conference of representatives of republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, will be held at the voting point.

The announcement:

Dmitry Tymchuk: About the events in southern Ukraine of 2nd-4th of May

About the events in southern Ukraine of 2nd-4th of May

Scenario for the”South” –  Russian terrorist’s actions go according to plan of Moscow. As foreseen, the situation in Odessa completely destabilized .

The tragic events in Odessa, provoked by pro-Russian extremists were also made possible because of the position and actions of the Odessa Police .

The fact is that for many weeks, local pro-Russian forces regularly performed provocations against patriotic part of the population. Local law enforcement officers in the best cases showed a complete disability to act, in the worst – actively supported the pro-Russian extremists.


Events of May the 2nd began with the provocations of pro-Russian separatists with attacks against unarmed Ukrainian activists killing civilians and all subsequent events were caused by these murders.

Odessa police in these conditions behaved outrageously and unacceptably. We have evidence that in the period of preparations for pro-Russian provocations on May the 2nd, local law enforcement agencies had arrested a group of pro-Russian extremists. By order of the police chief of the city, they were immediately released.

During the clashes Odessa police provided security for pro-Russian terrorists who were able to freely shoot Ukrainian patriots from behind the policemen.

Only after this bloodshed hosted by separatists with the support of the police began, patriotic citizens moved into action, driving pro-Russian separatists into the House of Trade Unions where they barricaded themselves and continued shooting at unarmed citizens.

We hope that the investigation will establish exactly what happened in the House of Trade Unions and what was the cause of the fire which killed many people. But we have every reason to believe that responsibility for this tragedy lies entirely on those who originally initiated the event on May the 2nd and those who instead of performing their duties as law enforcement officers directly supported and assisted criminals.

At the same time the events of May the 4 when the prosecutor’s office of Odessa region ordered to release the detained initiators of the bloody events saying that it was done “at the request of the protesters”. This clearly indicates that the law enforcement officers of Odessa are not going to stop their criminal activities of supporting and aiding terrorists.

We have to emphasize the damaging role of general prosecutor of Ukraine, who has personally ordered the detained criminals to be left in Odessa instead of being urgently escorted to Kiev.

We want to remind the Ukrainian authorities that these events are only a “warm-up” for pro-Russian terrorists before the 9th of May. If you do not take immediate action today (including personal responsibility and leadership of law enforcement and prosecutors of Odessa region) – the tragic events of the last few days will repeat on a larger scale and not only in Odessa.

Group “Information Resistance “

Events of April 29th

dmitry_tymchukDmitry Tymchuk, translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Brothers and sisters,

Here’s the Summary for April 29, 2014.

First of all, please forgive me that I “fell out” of the information space–I am now constantly on the move. Once again, we are actively monitoring the situation in the regions, I think tomorrow we will give an IR group statement. The situation is simply breathtaking.

The bad news:

1. Luhansk and Pervomaisk are currently under the flags of pro-Russian extremists. Luhansk Oblast [region] threatens to completely repeat the fate of Donetsk. Kharkiv region is next in line.

If the Ukrainian government initially intended to give up the East, then they should gather all their will into a fist and say one word to Moscow–”take it away!” In the manner of the film character in “Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession.”

If there is even a hint of desire to fight for the East, one should not hide that inclination. Show it by doing at least some action. Don’t be shy.

It is necessary to understand that if the vampires under the Russian flag hold their “referendums” (which Vladimir Putin will, of course, immediately admit–otherwise why would he have started all this fuss?), then the fight for the East will be a hundred times harder. Because it will not be a struggle with Russian henchmen, but with Russia itself.

2. Oleksandr Turchynov (acting President of Ukraine) found out the guilty in the separatist Sabbath. He suddenly uncovered (I say, what a prompt epiphany!) “inaction, helplessness, and sometimes criminal betrayal by the employees of law enforcement agencies in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.” In Turchynov’s words, “this is one of the main causes of low effectiveness and poor performance by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism.”

I can’t understand–is Turchynov using such delicate banter that I cannot decipher it, or did he previously just turn a blind eye? Simple people like Uncle Vasya, a plumber in Zhmerynka and Aunt Dunya, a cleaning lady in Iljichiovsk, have realized the presence of sabotage on the part of security forces on the ground two months ago. And our acting President has identified and revealed this phenomenon just now.

The RNBO sang the same song before Turchynov today. They obviously conspired.

Therefore, instead of starting to urgently solve this problem in the beginning of, or mid-March, the RNBO and the President have bothered to realize its existence only in late April. How could they even start and carry out the anti-terrorist operation, without being properly informed about the situation in the region? It’s some kind of idiocy.

3. According to the data of our Information Resistance group, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, Mariupol and Berdyansk should expect the separatists scenario that has been enacted today in Luhansk. I am not in the least bit optimistic that Ukrainian authorities will react to this threat.

The good news. There’s crazy little of it:

1. U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said that the U.S. would react instantly to Russian troops crossing into the Ukrainian border, and that the consequences will be dramatic. This post–is primarily in support of our boys from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, now standing along the border with Russia. In front of them–Putin’s armadas, on their butts are Putin’s mutts. The reassuring promises of the West clearly won’t hurt the situation.

2. And yet, the West, without any haste and in no rush, drives Putin into a dead end. “Gazprom” acknowledged that the sanctions could lead to a “loss of confidence of international investors” in the Russian economy. Just yesterday, the Russians mocked those sanctions. Today comes a sobering up. It is a pity that our extremists become intoxicated from permissiveness faster than Putin sobers up.

Events of April 25th

dmitry_tymchukDmitry Tymchuk, translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Brothers and sisters,

Here’s the Summary for April 25, 2014

The bad news:

1. Unknown degenerates threw a grenade at a checkpoint near Odessa this morning, and as a result seven people were wounded. Later in the day it became known that these same extremists planned to beat veterans on May 9 (Victory Day in Ukraine) “under contract” from a Russian TV Channel (as reported by the SBU).

Personally, I don’t like this fuss in the south. According to our data, with all the events happening in eastern Ukraine, our security forces are keeping an eye on Odessa, Mykolayiv, and Kherson. And this is very right.

But we are anticipating a powerful surge in various similar extremist acts by May 1 (Labour Day) and May 9. Let’s hope that the most heinous plans by pro-Russian “snitches” will be disrupted.

2. As a result of a shootout by terrorists at Kramatorsk airfield, a Ukrainian special forces Mi-8 helicopter and an An-2 plane were burned down.

I will not pose as a great strategist, but this event inevitably raises a number of questions. It was fine when Sloviansk separatists walked around the oblast (region) as if it was their home (although one cannot call it normal). But damn it, couldn’t they at least provide protection for the objects used by the Ukrainian security forces during this anti-terrorist operation (ATO)? It’s all very strange.

3. In Sloviansk, terrorists have hijacked a bus with OSCE representatives. This is the epitome of rudeness and cynicism.

It is absolutely clear that extremists are a bunch of drunk criminals and Kazachky (diminuitive of Cossack) led by professional subversives from Russia. Here’s the question to Ukrainian authorities. Do they realize that this egregious case – is a spit in the face? The ATO is under way in the region for a number of days already, and now look at it. Very sad, and I see no excuses.

The good news:

1. The Federation Council of Russia is against the invasion of Ukraine.

Valentina Matviyenko, the Chairman of the Federation Council, insists on continuing negotiations to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. This is as clear as day, she is Putin’s pet “talking head.” When it was necessary, the very same Federation Council happily voted to send troops to Ukraine in early March.

Does this mean that Putin has abandoned his plans to invade Ukraine? I think not. Rather, by playing democracy, he is preparing an excuse in case he considers the invasion to be inappropriate. But this statement does take the pressure down a notch.

2. The work of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry never ceases to delight us.

Today’s statement by the Ministry is quite extensive, but it lays everything out on the shelf. This includes the fact that Ukraine does not need Russian “peacekeepers,” the difference between separatists and Russian-speaking Ukrainians (Moscow is convinced that it amounts to the same thing), and the right of Ukraine to defend itself against terrorism through the use of force.

This rhetoric is relayed in a very educated and convincing manner. We must understand that these very guys are responsible for forming the attitudes of the international community towards events in our country. And they are truly doing a great job.

3. The operation to liberate Sloviansk has not been a complete success, but at least the city was finally blocked. It’s better than nothing.

4. It’s not necessarily “good news,” but rather a few words on the subject. Presidential candidates manifest themselves in the “Eastern crisis” in a very interesting manner.

Mykhaylo Dobkin is sitting in Kharkiv, where he wages his tense and invisible war for the unity of Ukraine. Having survived the egg attack by Luhansk separatists in mid-April, he is trying today to avoid the frontlines.

Serhiy Tigipko also performed ​​a quiet act of bravery in Luhansk a week ago. He bravely entered the SBU building, occupied by separatists “to negotiate.” Everyone held their breath. Half an hour later, Tigipko came out, shook separatists’ hands and said pointedly (if you believe the media), “All right, hang on here.” Leaving behind some innuendos.

Petro Poroshenko “landed” in Luhansk yesterday. He was blocked by a pro-Russian crowd right at the airport. Although it is not clear what they wanted from Poroshenko – it seems that he always demonstrated the ability to maintain composure in dialogue with his beloved Russian separatists. Especially since he always had problems with Moscow on business issues.

Yulia Tymoshenko announced that she came to an agreement with the separatists. Although Luhansk separatists immediately declared that nothing like that ever happened. Hopefully, Yulia Volodymirivna will invite separatist to the televised Presidential debates and convince them in front of all honest people that agreements with them still exist.

After visiting Crimea, Natalia Korolevska visited the “hot spots” – Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, and Donetsk Regional State Administration. Then, she made ​​a surprise announcement contrary to the general rhetoric. That in eastern Ukraine, aside from kids running around with guns, there are millions of Ukrainians who are offended by the word “separatist.” These are ordinary retirees, public officials, families with children who have been cut off from the world.

The sensible idea about this is that behind all this “war” (both within the Russia-triggered outrage, and during political battles) ordinary people go into the background. And that’s very bad.

Let us hope that in the future those in power will remember the lessons of today, and realize that human beings are the guarantee of stability in any region.

Events of April 24th

dmitry_tymchukDmitry Tymchuk, Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Brothers and sisters,
Here’s the Summary for April 24, 2014

The bad news:

1. Russia initiated large-scale military exercises on the border with Ukraine. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, this is in response to the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) of Ukrainian security forces in Donbas.

First, the claim that this is the “Russian response,” is a lie. If military exercises had started just now, what were 50,000 Russian troops doing at our borders for a month and a half?

In fact, Russia is frantically looking for an excuse for the presence of its legions at our borders. The ATO is an excellent opportunity for such an excuse. Especially since it can also become a reason for a full-scale Russian invasion.

Secondly, by voicing its “concern” with the ATO and its willingness to protect terrorists in Ukraine, Russia in fact directly confirms outright that it is a terrorist state. However, we already knew this, so it’s just another confirmation.

But in any case, Putin must understand: the eastern border of Ukraine in April 2014 is NOT the Crimean border of Ukraine in February 2014. The Ukrainian Army is at the very least present, but it’s also ready to meet [the enemy].

2. Donetsk regional council works perfectly in sync with Russia.

[The Donetsk] People’s Council deputies demanded from Kyiv to abandon the use of force against terrorists and withdraw [Ukrainian] security forces to the places of their permanent deployment. As if on the Kremlin’s orders, they are creating the excuse Putin needs: not just Russia, but even the local elected bodies are against the ATO!

This – is direct aid to the enemy.

3. The Prosecutor General’s Office reported that 1,200 subversives have been exposed in Luhansk Oblast [region]. Russian coordinators tasked them with diversions to prevent the presidential elections from happening.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. No one will say how much of this filth controlled by Moscow runs hither and thither around Ukraine.

The good news:

1. The ATO continues. Despite the howling of the Kremlin and the singalong of its mongrels in Ukraine, our security forces are working.

Yes, their activity is severely limited by public authorities, they are shackled by their hands and feet and they cannot apply even a tenth of their capacity. But this is ACTION, and not the former peaceful contemplation of lawlessness and their utter helplessness.

Turchynov stated clearly that we will not retreat in the face of the terrorist threat. After his former changes of opinion, such rigidity in his position is very surprising. Fortunately, it’s a nice surprise.

The EU’s position also plays into the hands of Ukraine (by the way, I was not expecting that), for which I’d like to give a special ‘thank you’ to Europeans. Michael Mann, the Chief Spokesperson to [HRVP Catherine] Ashton, said that the ATO is not a violation of the Geneva agreement. The European Union recognizes the right of the Ukrainian authorities to take forceful measures to protect the sovereignty of their state.

2. Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, the Head of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine said that the Presidential elections would be held on May 25, 2014 under any “political climate.”

In fact, May 25 is our main landmark. If elections take place, then we will have a President recognized by the world, and therefore, a hope for stability.

Of course, Russia will not leave us alone. But if we hold out until May 25, it will be easier to resist it. Just as it will be more difficult for Russia to act against Ukraine, shaking its clown Yanukovych as the “legitimate leader” of Ukraine.

3. Russian NTV channel claims that they lost their employee in Ukraine. Just like when Joseph Goebbels’ propagandist dissapeared at Stalingrad. I want to feel sorry for the poor fellow, but it’s impossible.

Events of April 23th

dmitry_tymchukDmitry Tymchuk, translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Brothers and sisters,
Here’s the Summary for April 23, 2014

The bad news:

1. The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that Ukraine and the U.S. are “distorting the Geneva agreement,” as in they must disarm “Right Sector” and not the separatists. Also, Moscow calls on Kyiv to withdraw its troops from the eastern regions of Ukraine (even though Moscow itself says that Russian troops can be deployed on Russian territory in any location, and in any numbers it wants).

We’ve heard these fables before. What’s worse is that today, Lavrov [Russian Foreign Minister] began to threaten a Russian invasion in eastern Ukraine.

Even though a Russian military invasion has essentially been underway for two months already, we lost Crimea as a result [of it]. Today, Moscow wants to use the same scenario to chop off eastern Ukraine, and the south in the bargain. It’s not the first day that Russian Spetsnaz and Cossack gangs, managed by Putin have been running around Donbas.

Therefore, Lavrov’s threat – it is rather a statement of fact.

2. People begin to pull me up as soon as I admit to any criticism of [our] military leadership. I totally agree, at this moment we shouldn’t criticize the government and the army. But when some of the processes they manage go beyond reason, I can’t restrain myself.

Speaking of which – let’s talk about the “division” procedure for military leadership bonuses. The Head of the Finance Department of the Ministry of Defense Lt.-Gen. Ivan Marko gave a document to the Defense Minister to sign (with the petition the Chief of Staff), which he happily signed. 20 million UAH [USD 1.732 million] went to awards for “Spring Rain” military exercises. Ukrainian Ground Forces received 2.971 million UAH [USD 257,229] of this, the Air Force received 1.717 million UAH [USD 148,658] respectively, and the operational commands received some change.

But the General Staff got the fattest piece – 9.640 million UAH [USD 834,631]!

Brothers, well, this is beastliness. The General Staff did not lift a finger during the withdrawal of troops from Crimea. Now, if our servicemen in eastern Ukraine do open fire in self-defense, they do so against the wishes of the General Staff, and under the responsibility of commanders on the ground. During the “Spring Rain” military exercises, the planes were crashing and tanks exploded. Mobilization, which the General Staff is responsible for, has turned into a sad circus.

Every second of these strategists should be put on trial, and they give themselves bonuses. Incidentally, they are raising money for the army among ordinary citizens meanwhile – they are saying that the military budget is not enough. How can this be?

3. Russian militaries are mining the border of Crimea with mainland Ukraine. They should have set a grate along the coast of Crimea that says, “Do not feed the occupiers.”

Overall, if Russia were smart, they would have mined all their border areas, not the occupied peninsula. So that its rabid dogs did not get scattered all over the world.

The good news:

1. At the moment, we have nothing over which to criticize the course of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO). Our current assessment of the situation showed that actions by security forces within the past 24 hours have become quite organized. On the surface, this is just the tip of the iceberg in the form of ongoing work.

I understand that these words will incur the wrath of many skeptics of the ATO. At the moment, their skepticism is fully justified. But I would suggest that they do not rush their judgments. If there is something to criticize – we will not force ourselves to wait.

Today, the special forces part of the Interior Ministry freed the Sviatohorsk, Donetsk oblast [region] from an armed separatist group. Hopefully, this is the first sign of more good things to come.

2. Since Monday, April 21 we, the Information Resistance group, have noted the sharp decrease in the number of representatives of the GRU of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in the territory of settlements in the Donetsk oblast occupied by extremists.

At this moment, we are not able to say whether this is due to their exfiltration (withdrawal to the Russian territory) or their transfer to other Donbas raions [districts]. Let’s hope it’s the former. In any case, we are monitoring the situation.

3. Donetsk oblast Governor Serhiy Taruta urged mayors and raion heads to explain the implications of a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” to ordinary citizens.

Simply stated, “In two months, no one will pay your pensions, and you will be able get them from nowhere… Miners will not receive their wages because there will be no place to which to sell coal, and all benefit recipients like mothers with children, as well as the disabled, will also have nowhere from which to get any money.”

His words went into the ears of the kids holding Russian flags.

Events of April 22th

dmitry_tymchukBy Dmitry Tymchuk, translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Brothers and sisters,
Here’s the Summary for April 22, 2014

The bad news:

1. Easter holidays brought no hope that Russia and the extremists pay any heed to the Geneva agreements. Extremist acts continue.

On the part of the security forces, sadly, we see no effective response, not even in blocking the loci of this infection. This problem must be addressed, and urgently. At this time, the flames of terrorism have engulfed Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Unless urgent action is taken, the next few days will see the entire region covered in such “Sloviansk-s.”

Especially since we continue receiving information about the diversions and provocations being prepared. By the way, today a journalist voiced an accusation against Information Resistance group – alleging that we are instigators because we “forecasted” the diversion in Kramatorsk two hours before it happened. Supposedly, our messages are spreading panic among the public.

Personally, I think that’s bull. Panic is spread by the events, not by messages. What’s more, such events can be avoided by using incoming information appropriately. But alas, this issue is not for us to address.

2. The deadline for refusal of Russian citizenship for residents of Crimea expired on April 18, and will not be extended. This was reported today by Sergei Kalyuzhny, Deputy Head of the Federal Migration service of Russia.

Earlier, the self-proclaimed Crimean princelings (Putin’s henchmen) from the “government of Crimea” swore that this term would be extended. Clearly, they are just like their master – liars through and through.

The bad news is, that this lie impacts the fates of hundreds and thousands of Crimeans who became hostages of the situation. While Ukraine, for some reason, has not voiced a single word of alarm about their future. Let alone any real attempts to solve these people’s problems. Lord High Officials, after losing Crimea, let us not lose our conscience yet.

3. Nelya Shtepa, the mayor of Sloviansk, continues to play the part of some surreal comedy character. One moment, she is with the separatists; the next, she swears that her support was not genuine.

She reminds me of the unnamed drunken major from Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies. Now and again, appearing out of nowhere, spouting some gibberish, and vanishing again. To what end? Nobody knows.

Today, in an interview with Russian TV channel, Shtepa, once again, started licking Putin (“very grateful to Putin for entering Crimea”) and the insurgents (“they are strong in spirit, they will defeat both the Right Sector, and the military – they will defeat everyone here.”)

If I had any commentary on this lady’s personality, it would only be very rude. Being a gentleman, I will keep such commentary to myself. But the bad part is that such lovely creatures [as Shtepa] are supplying Russian PutinTV with a picture that Moscow so sorely requires.

The good news:

1. The Cabinet of Ministers registered a bill on the amnesty of extremists with the [Verkhovna] Rada [Ukrainian Parliament]. This means an exemption from liability for those who didn’t cause too much trouble and decided to hand themselves over.

After the law is passed, the criminals have three days to make a decision. Personally, I’m not that in favor of cottoning up to terrorists. But in current conditions, this is still a good move, which allows those who unintentionally found themselves involved in separatism to leave this mess behind quietly. Let us see what results it brings.

2. Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States, declared that the U.S. is entirely in support of Ukraine.

This means not only moral support in the current situation. This also means strategic perspective – for example, their readiness to help lower [Ukraine’s] dependence on energy resources supplied from Russia.

It should be understood that the very visit of the U.S. Vice President to Kyiv is already a powerful political declaration.

However, Joseph Biden is a rampant optimist. He says that Ukrainian politicians currently have “a historical chance” to create a truly united state. This, alas, is an illusion. Should Ukraine become truly united, it will happen through the efforts of Ukrainians themselves. It looks like the less our politicians meddle in this, the higher the chances for success.

3. The “People’s Militia” in Mykolayiv work together with the police, and successfully detain miscreants.

Today, the headquarters of the city’s “People’s Militia” reported that approximately ten pieces of traumatic and combat weapons were confiscated at block posts around Mykolayiv in the last few days; several people were detained.

This is a vivid example of a situation where people don’t expect favors from the law enforcement, but take the bull by the horns. This is especially important for the South. While everyone’s attention is drawn to the events in the East, the enemy keeps working here.

4. The Cabinet of Ministers allocated UAH 5.304 billion [USD 451.4 million] from the reserve fund of the State Budget for improvement of defense capabilities. Of this amount, the Ministry of Defense is set to receive UAH 3.1 billion [USD 263.8 million], the Interior Troops of the MIA, UAH 1.8 billion [USD 153.2 million], and the State Border Service, UAH 0.109 billion [USD 9.28 million].

This amount may not be that large, but the main question is how to manage it. Sadly, corruption remains a reality, and a thief in an official’s chair is a threat as large as an armed separatist in an ambush. I hope we can manage both of these types of threats.